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February 23, 2005 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-23

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 3

'U' to host panel
on Bill Cosby
The Detroit Project, the National
Association of Black Journalists and
. Michigan Student Assembly's Minority
Affairs Commission are sponsoring a
discussion on Bill Cosby today from 7
to 9 p.m in the Pendleton Room of the
Michigan Union.
"A Conversation with Dr. Bill Cosby"
will recap Cosby's recent visit to Detroit,
as well as provide an open forum for dia-
logue. The event will also include dis-
cussions by panelists Rochelle Riley of
the Detroit Free Press, Alfred DeFreece
of the Boggs Center to Nurture Com-
munity Leadership and Psychology
Prof. Stephanie Rowley. Refreshments
will be provided. For more information
contact cosby.detroit@umich.edu.
Event to discuss
Russian authors
Today from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Inter-
nation Institute Gallery, the Inter-
national Institute, the Institute for
the Humanities and two University
. departments are hosting "Soviet Writ-
ers, American Images: Ilf and Petrov
Tour the United States, 1935-1936."
The event is free of charge.
Get swinging at
the Union tonight
Swing dance the evening away
tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. in the
Michigan Union Ballroom. Instructors
will be present throughout the night to
teach beginners to more advanced danc-
ers. You can come by yourself or bring
a partner to dance to music provided by
Del the DJ. The cost is $3 for a Univer-
sity student and $4 for the general pub-
lic. For more information on the event,
contact Susan Pile at 763-3202.
Damaged chair
found in Markley
A housing officer on a routine check
in Mary Markley Residence Hall discov-
ered damage to the backrest of a wooden
lounge chair early Monday morning, the
Department of Public Safety reported.
The chair was valued at $50. There are
currently no suspects.
Panhandler begs
outside library
A panhandler in front of Shaprio
Undergraduate Library was reported
early yesterday morning. A possible
suspect was escorted off the grounds for
trespassing, according to DPS.
Purse stolen from
Angell auditorium
A subject's unattended purse was
stolen from Auditorium A of Angell
Hall between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. on

Monday, according to DPS. There are
currently no suspects.
Students trapped
in elevator
Several people were stuck on an ele-
vator last night in South Quad Residence
Hall, according to DPS. The people got
out of the elevator after a short time.

Lobenthal offers insight on prejudice

By Tom Szczesny
For the Daily

Traveling home from Ku Klux Klan
rallies in cars loaded with dynamite,
standing in churches as they were fire-
bombed and waiting for a sheriff to arrive
at his burning house to save him from
gun-toting KKK members has provided
former director of the Michigan Anti-
Defamation League, Richard Lobenthal,
with a unique perspective on prejudice.
Throughout his 36-year career at the
ADL, Lobenthal was on the front lines
of the battle against hate.
Last night at the University's chapter
of Hillel, Lobenthal shared some of his
compelling stories with a gathering of
students and local residents. Lobenthal's
hope was to convey the relevance of
these experiences to the current struggle
against intolerance.
Lobenthal said there is still an under-
current of prejudice continuing to
threaten individuals and infringing on
their ability to live a secure life. "As we
go from the '50s and '60s to 2005, we're
still dealing with this issue," he said.
Citing recent events around the coun-
try and at the University, including the
drawing of swastikas in Mary Markley
Residence Hall, Lobenthal expressed
anxiety over manifestations of hate in
the United States today.
"One thing I've become increasingly
concerned about is that Americans are
losing their ability to be tolerant," he
said. "It's our inability to recognize our
differences and coexist that makes me
nervous," he added.
Lobenthal also explained how such
intolerance will impact the country in
coming decades. In particular, Loben-
thal conveyed his doubt that democracy
can survive in a climate of prejudice.
"The ability for us to get along togeth-
er is the most fundamental concept of
American democracy," he said.
Lobenthal said he is disturbed by
the fact that individuals have become
increasingly incapable of speaking

openly about issues of race and toler-
ance. Even worse, he said the result has
been a gradual muting of voices that
fight for equal rights.
"When you begin to have a country
move to apathy about harassing people ...
and you don't have a sense of indignation,
... that is very dangerous," he said. "Until
we have a collective sense of outrage, then
the world's going to deteriorate."
It was this sense that first inspired
Lobenthal to become a civil rights
activist over four decades ago. He want-
ed to be heard in firm opposition to the
many prejudiced movements - includ-
ing the Dixiecrats and a resurgent KKK
- spreading around the country.
As a result, he joined the ADL, which
Lobenthal called the oldest and largest
private civil rights organization in the
world, and while serving in its Virginia
office, he took steps to combat hate by
infiltrating the KKK and observing the
group's activities firsthand.
In 1964, Lobenthal became the Mich-
igan director of the ADL. He served
in this capacity until 1996, when he
stepped down to engage in other forms
of civil rights activism, including act-
ing as interim director of the Michigan
American Civil Liberties Union.
With his decades-long work as a
fighter of prejudice, Lobenthal left a
mark on many lives. Rabbi Jason Mill-
er, assistant director of Michigan Hillel,
worked as an intern with Lobenthal one
summer and called him as a "public
defender and unifier."
Lobenthal's story resonated with
RC sophomore Monica Woll, chair of
Hillel's governing board. "It was inspir-
ing to hear someone so dedicated and
passionate about a cause living his life
attempting to end racism and segrega-
tion," she said.
Miller said this energy and determina-
tion allowed Lobenthal to create a climate
of tolerance for disparaged groups. "All
these minority groups owe so much to this
man who has dedicated his life to fighting
hate and building bridges," he said.

Richard Lobenthal discusses his lifetime of fighting intolerance as the former director of the Michigan Anti-Defa-
mation League, to an audence of students at University Hillel last night.

Chaldeans, Arabs clash over belly dancing

By Andy Tsang
For the Daily

DEARBORN - Students and
faculty at the University's Dearborn
campus joined together Monday for
the 12th year in a row to celebrate
Ethnic Diversity Day in Kochoff
Hall at the University Center - but
not all the cultural presentations
were enjoyed by everyone.
The Chaldean American Student
Association drew the ire of some
Arab American students - who
make up a large
demographic on
the Dearborn cam- "I feel it d+
pus - who said
they felt that the wOmen, o
two female belly
dancers perform- Muslim a
ing during CASA's a
segment of the pro- a woman
gram misrepresent-
ed Arab culture:
Chaldeans, who Stu
are historically
Catholics from
Iraq, share a home- _
land with Arabs in
the Middle East, but differ in lan-
guage and some aspects of culture.
Chaldeans consider Armais to be
their native language while Arab
Christians and Muslims in the Mid-
dle East speak Arabic as their pri-
mary language.
CASA's similar presentation last
year featured belly dancers that many
Arab students said they felt were inap-
propriately dressed and played on a ste-
reotype of Arab culture.
"I feel it degrades women, as a
Muslim and a woman," said Student
Government representative Dyania
Fellow representative Jamil Khui-
ja echoed her sentiments. He said


the belly dancing was "exploitative"
and that the dancers had an almost
"stripper-like" quality to them.
But members of the Chaldean stu-
dent group felt belly dancers were a
part of their culture and presenting
them in the show was their option.
Brandon Kakos, President of
CASA, said the group should be
allowed to represent its culture
through art, music and dance. To not
let it represent its culture would be a
"form of censorship," he said.
Kakos added that although there
are differences
between Chal-
,grades deans and Arabs,
everyone "should
s a at least respect
that there are
Rd differences" and
not necessarily
embrace them
but "respect that
- Dyania Macki they are there
ent Government and not censor
epre enti t."
Representative To resolve the
problem prior
to the cultural
show, a student government vote
took place last week to decide which
student groups would receive money
to display their cultures at the Eth-
nicity Day.
The debate over whether CASA
should receive funding for its cul-
tural display, which would include
belly dancers, took up a portion of
the meeting with heated arguments
from both sides.
Students who said the belly danc-
ers promoted stereotypes claimed
that belly dancers held negative
connotations in the Arab world and
would be likened to strippers in
America, and should not represent
any type of Arab culture.

But Kakos argued at the meeting
that in America, belly dancers were
perceived differently, as a form of
art and entertainment, and should
not be placed in the same context
that they are in the Arab world.
Though there was much oppo-
sition to the belly dancers, many
members of the Student Government
abstained when the vote took place,
and CASA was granted the stipend

to bring in the dancers.
When the dancers took the floor,
about 25 to 30 people left the hall,
some in disapproval of the perfor-
Despite the opposition to the
Chaldeans' presentation, the after-
noon went off without a hitch. Stu-
dents clapped and cheered at the end
of each presentation, with some even
getting up and dancing along.

The celebration was followed by
a reception featuring ethnic snacks,
including quesadillas, crab rangoon,
spinach pies, meat pies and Bavarian
cream puffs.
Student Government advisor
Randy Dillard said, "Although this
issue was passionately debated over,"
and both sides presented their points
of view, "I'm glad we can move on
and enjoy the celebration."

In Daily


Strike threatens
crucial services
Feb. 23, 1977 - More than 2,300
University service workers - includ-
ing cafeteria, hospital, custodial and
maintenance staffs - walked off
their jobs this morning in a campus-
wide strike that threatens to cripple
the University.
Members of the American Federa-
tion of State, County, and Municipal
Employees overwhelmingly rejected
a tentative contract with the Uni-
versity and voted to strike until the
union is offered something "more

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